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McHenry Outdoor seeks votes to save drive in

Published: Friday, Aug. 30, 2013 8:37 p.m. CST
(Northwest Herald file photo)
Scott Dehn, owner of the McHenry Outdoor Theater, loads movie film onto a reel before a show in 2012. The theater is in need of $130,000 to convert to digital projection equipment.
(Northwest Herald file photo)
Toy Story 3 plays on the big screen at the McHenry Outdoor Theater in 2010.
(Northwest Herald file photo)
Movie-goers visit the concession stands before the show starts at McHenry Outdoor Theater in 2010.

McHENRY – As the movie industry switches from film to digital, it’s getting harder for the McHenry Outdoor Theater to find the newest movies, its owner said.

The drive-in theater didn’t miss out this year on any films, owner Scott Dehn said, but sometimes the theater won’t be able to get a copy until a few weeks after the movie comes out.

“This year it was harder to get the films I wanted than it was last year,” he said. “Next year, it will be harder than this year or impossible. [The end to film] is sooner rather than later, and the writing is on the wall.”

Dehn, who took over the theater in January 2012, has been trying to raise money to buy a digital projector for about a year, and while he’s made “good inroads” in raising awareness, they haven’t reached the $130,000 needed for the purchase.

He hopes a contest sponsored by Honda may be the answer.

The company has started a drive-in fund and will donate five digital projectors to the drive-in theaters that receive the most votes.

“It’s a lot easier to ask people for a vote or two every day than for money,” Dehn said. “And it’s more fun.”

He’s been getting messages via social media, email and left on his voicemail, telling him all the groups that have been casting their votes everyday.

Votes can be cast at or by texting “Vote111” to 444999.

The last day to vote is Monday, Sept. 9.

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